Last Updated: 12 November 2017
- Updated a broken link
AMEX “Shop Small” Promotion, Spend $20 get $10 back
AMEX “Shop Small” is an annual, highly anticipated, widely advertised nationwide event/promotion (by those familiar with AMEX promotions!) that runs in November every year. I mean, there’s even an Ozbargain wiki for it!
This American Express promotion has been running since 2014. Personally, I have been participating since 2015.
Historically, they have allowed each AMEX card up to 10x $10 credits throughout the month of the promotion. This year, they are limiting it to 5x $10 credits.
At a basic level, the concept of the promotion is easy to understand.
- Spend $20 or more in one transaction at participating shops, get a $10 statement credit effectively a “refund”
- Each card is limited to 5x $10 credits at 5 unique, different locations
- There is a huge variety of participating locations. Convenience Stores (where you can often top up your Opal/myki/Metro/Go/SmartRider), Restaurants, Laundromats, Physios, Hairdressers, Sushi, Dentists, Petrol Stations, Daiso.
Elaborate tips on how to participate in this promotion efficiently:
- Use the following tools to find participating stores
- Official Map (it sucks though)
- A better map, courtesy of thydzik from Ozbargain!
- Comment with links to spreadsheets and Participating Merchants filtered by state also courtesy of thydzik on Ozbargain!
- This list of places for topping up your transport card
- Use it to pay for things you would ordinarily pay for anyway
- This means don’t spend impulsively to save money “just because there’s a promotion”. That is not how “truly” saving money works.
- Topping up your transport card, or getting petrol is one of the most efficient ways to utilise this promotion
- You need to eat anyway. If you normally eat out, why don’t you pick a place based on which merchants are participating?
- Get supplementary cards under your primary AMEX card!
- Amongst the direct-issued AMEX cards (cards listed on American Express, you can generally get a maximum of 4 per account for free.
- Each supplementary card has a different card number to the primary card. This is an important difference, as it allows your supplementary cards to be registered separately as part of the Shop Small promotion, thus giving you access to another set of 5x $10 credits
- If you can’t think of who to get it issued under, the most logical people would be your partner, siblings, parents, children
- It is hypotheticallly possible to get supplementary cards issued in your own name, but it is quite difficult to do so as AMEX will often reject such applications. This is logical as it’s supposed to be for someone else.
- Having supplementary cards in your own name is extremely handy for places that check names on cards. Merchants are well within their right to sight cards to ensure it is in your name, and if you turn up with your partner’s card, they don’t care (and frankly, won’t be able to tell) that it’s a supplementary under you and can deny the card.
- Put your cards on Android Pay/Apple Pay – this way the merchant can’t actually check the name on your card, and most likely won’t refuse on this basis.
- Have a bill that’s $100? Split it into 5x $20 transactions (if you have 5x AMEX cards!)
- Read comments from the Ozbargain thread – people share pretty good info there!
- If you have a lot of cards which you really wish to maximise, you may need to compile an Excel spreadsheet to help you track how progress!
- Consider purchasing a “card wallet” with transparent sleeves. These ones cost $2.80 from Daiso and are pretty good quality!
Other bits of info..
- If you have a bank-issued AMEX card (issued by Westpac, NAB or Commonwealth Bank), only NAB issue supplementary cards with a unique number. In addition, I believe you will only be entitled to one free supplementary card.
- Because Westpac and Commonwealth Bank supplementary AMEX cards have the same number as the primary card, obtaining these supplementaries does not allow you to get access to additional $10 credits and you will be limited to 5.
- Merchants do not “knowingly” participate in the promotion. Merchants automatically participate based on:
- Having an annual turnover of less than $1.3 millioin
- Having accepted at least one AMEX transaction between July-October 2017
- If a listed retailer does not accept AMEX or you experience some other issues (e.g. ridiculous surcharging), you can (should?) write to AMEX:
- Be courteous. This means if you’ve got 15x cards and you’re trying to top up Opal Cards, step aside to allow other people to pay first if they have something small. Don’t make them wait 15 minutes for you to finish.
- As with all other AMEX statement credit promos, you earn points on the full value of the transaction. This means you don’t lose $10 worth of points for having the $10 credited to your account.
- With chain stores, just because one branch is participating doesn’t mean they all are!
This is a great promo and a regular one by AMEX. It’s just one of the few promotions that make American Express cards so valuable. This promo alone gives your card $50 worth of value, not counting all the supplementaries!
Questions, comments, feedback? Don’t be shy. I’m all ears.